For me, this year at Parish has been about pride and wonder.
As a parent, we’ve all witnessed moments when our children achieve a new level of capability, mastery or autonomy. Sometimes, we witness this firsthand. A five year old, for example, plays alone contentedly for the better part of an hour without needing a parent’s companionship or guidance, or the absent-minded early teen carries out her chores without a note or admonition reminding her to do so.
Other moments of a child’s inspired competence arrive as small gifts bestowed by others. A teacher notes how your 9th grader, who at home ordinarily displays the diplomacy of a dictator, served as an invaluable mediator between two quarrelling friends. Or your friend conveys how assured she feels knowing her daughter carpools with your young driver, who demonstrates such discretion and good judgment behind the wheel.
We are proud when these moments come because, in these instances, we see the return on the investments we have made in our children. The values we have taught and modeled at home, the educational opportunities we have afforded, and the enriching experiences we’ve exposed our students to represent important inputs which, in these special moments, appear to have produced a contributing member of society. #Success!
Often, wonder accompanies these moments, because the correlation between our inputs and the agency displayed by our child is much harder to decipher. We may find ourselves thinking, “Where did he learn to do that so well?!” Before our eyes, he presents as a better version of himself, better than we could have ever envisioned him becoming. And it appears to have happened independent of our efforts, our worries and our influence.
Later this month, Parish graduates its ninth class and concludes its 12th year since expansion. As my 6th year anniversary approaches, I see Parish with the same adoring pride and wonder which accompanies parenthood.
Signs of the School’s growth and ascendance present themselves to me each day on campus. Increasingly, though, they are being recognized and affirmed by others.
The Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) reaccredited Parish in 2009 and this February performed a scheduled mid-term review (our accreditation is renewed every 10 years). Their written report noted, in part, “that the School’s continuous improvement is remarkable,” citing a litany of evidence including a 1116% increase in the School’s endowment balance since 2009; “great progress in the definition, maturation and launch of a myriad of signature programs” such as the Academy of Global Studies, ParishLeads and the MyPanther e.portfolio; and the creation of over 14,000 square feet of “Maker” robotics and design spaces.
The Edward E. Ford Foundation recently presented another gift of affirmation. As you may have read in our recent news, Parish was one of only four schools nationally to be awarded the prestigious Foundation’s Educational Leadership Grant. Parish had previously applied to the Foundation twice, only to be denied. These rejections significantly reduced the likelihood of the Foundation awarding us one of its largest, $250,000 matching grants. After visiting campus for a day in January and meeting with students, faculty members and administrators, however, the Foundation’s Executive Director noted Parish’s strong culture, innovation disposition and leadership in building a network among other schools and universities in the Metroplex. He described it as “a new day” at Parish and the Foundation’s generous award followed.
Increasingly this year, as I interacted with prospective parents, community leaders or visitors to campus, many offered unsolicited observations similar to those of ISAS and the Ford Foundation. Perhaps you have heard it, too: the acknowledgement of the Parish community asserting and demonstrating its unique identity and capability with confidence.
Feedback like this brings great pride because I know the intentional inputs which have yielded the results: a committed board of trustees; innovative administrators; richly talented faculty members; and supremely supportive and unified parents.
Each day, however, I am also filled with wonder. Even with these intentional investments, what our students accomplish, through their God-given talent, concerted effort and genuine goodness, exceeds expectation. Given the incredible opportunities of our now even richer and more matured programming, our students produce work in the academic, artistic and athletic arena which inspires and amazes. #Success indeed!